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Congressman Jim Leach

(#3110)
November 7, 2003

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IOWA PRESS #3110 >>

Borg: IN IRAQ, HELICOPTERS DOWNED, U.S. CASUALTIES MOUNT, AND IOWA CONGRESSMAN JIM LEACH SAYS "ENOUGH." WE'LL QUESTION HIM ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION;

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: MAJOR ISSUES, ALL OF THE MAGNITUDE THAT DETERMINE THE NATION'S FUTURE AND ROLE IN THE WORLD, CONFRONT THE U.S. CONGRESS RIGHT NOW. CONSIDER AN ENERGY POLICY, DECIDING PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS, AND HOW TO PROVIDE THE BEST EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN. BIG ISSUES, ALL OF THEM, BY THEMSELVES. BUT DEFENDING THE NATION AGAINST TERRORISM AND DECIDING WHAT TO DO ABOUT OUR COMMITMENT IN IRAQ DEMAND IMMEDIACY. THIS PAST WEEK DIVERGENT VOICES SOUNDED WITHIN PRESIDENT BUSH'S OWN PARTY -- NEBRASKA SENATOR CHUCK HAGEL, ARIZONA'S JOHN MCCAIN, AND IOWA CONGRESSMAN JIM LEACH -- EXPRESSING CONCERN ABOUT CONTINUING U.S. OCCUPATION OF IRAQ. CONGRESSMAN LEACH'S COMMENTS PUT HIM ON THE NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES ACROSS THE NATION. HE'S JUST BACK NOW FROM WASHINGTON AND HERE WITH US. CONGRESSMAN LEACH, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Leach: GOOD TO BE WITH YOU, DEAN.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, I'D LIKE TO GET YOU TO ADDRESS A COUPLE OF WHAT WE CALL SOUND-BITE ISSUES AROUND THE WAR IN IRAQ. THE FIRST IS A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY IRAQ IS AN OIL RICH COUNTRY. YOU VOTED FOR THE $87 BILLION TO CONTINUE THE WAR. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ASKING AN OIL RICH COMPANY AT SOME POINT TO PAY A LITTLE BIT OF THAT BACK?

Leach: WELL, MIKE, THAT'S A VERY GOOD QUESTION, AND PART OF IT RELATES TO THE HISTORY -- THE TWENTIETH CENTURY OF THE HISTORY OF WARFARE ITSELF. EVERY GENERATION HAS KNOWN WAR, VIRTUALLY, BUT THE IDEA OF RECONSTRUCTION IS A TWENTIETH-CENTURY PHENOMENA. IT'S VERY MODERN. WE HAVE TWO MODELS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. ONE WAS WORLD WAR I, WHERE WE WERE VERY PUNITIVE TO GERMANY, AND IT'S VIRTUALLY A CERTITUDE THAT HELPED LEAD TO WORLD WAR II. AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II, WE WERE VERY GENEROUS AND WE HELPED CREATE A MUCH MORE STABLE WORLD. NOW GERMANY AND JAPAN ARE CLOSER TO BE ALLIES THAN ENEMIES. I THINK WHEN YOU DEAL WITH IRAQ, YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WE HAVE INTERVENED. WHETHER IT'S RIGHT OR WRONG -- AND I HAD GRAVE DOUBTS ABOUT IT -- BUT WE HAVE INTERVENED AND WE ARE NOW ACCOUNTABLE AND WE'VE GOT TO START THE RECONSTRUCTION PROCESS WITH GENEROSITY. AND IF WE DON'T, IT WILL BE FAR MORE EXPENSIVE FOR US TO DEAL WITH IN THE FUTURE. NOW, WHEN WE PUT IN PLACE AN IRAQI GOVERNMENT THAT'S SELF-GOVERNING -- AND I'M FOR DOING THAT RAPIDLY RATHER THAN SLOWLY -- THEN IRAQ HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR ITSELF. BUT UNTIL WE DO, WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE. AND GENEROSITY IS BETTER THAN CURMUDGEONLINESS.

Glover: THE SECOND SOUND BITE YOU HEAR ABOUT IRAQ GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS: WE'RE SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS IN IRAQ WHEN WE CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION IN THE U.S. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?

Leach: THAT IS A VALID CONCERN, AND WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH BOTH. I WILL TELL YOU IF WE WERE TO MARCH OUT OF IRAQ WITH IT BEING A WORSE PLACE THAN WE ENTERED, AMERICA WILL BE CONFRONTING A MUCH HARSHER TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, AND IT WILL BE A MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY IN TERMS OF LIVES AND IN TERMS OF PURSE. WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO MAKE IRAQ A BETTER PLACE. AT THE RISK OF A LITTLE PRESUMPTION, DEAN, I DIDN'T SAY "ENOUGH." WHAT I SAID WAS WE HAVE TO RETHINK OUR STRATEGY AND, IN MY VIEW, LOOK TOWARDS AN EARLIER DEPARTURE AND AN EARLIER UP-FRONT, CONSTRUCTIVE RECONSTRUCTION.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, THIS IS A QUESTION THAT DOESN'T COME WITH A SOUND BITE ANSWER, I GUESS. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? WE ARE WHERE WE ARE IN IRAQ TODAY. WHAT'S DO WE GO NOW? WHAT'S YOUR PRESCRIPTION?

Leach: THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS INTERNATIONALIZE THE FACE OF IRAQ. THAT IS, WE HAVE NOW A CIRCUMSTANCE WHERE THE UNITED STATES IS IN BAGHDAD TRYING TO RUN A CIVIL GOVERNMENT. I BELIEVE WE OUGHT TO PUT AN INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITY THERE. IF YOU DO THAT, YOU GET THE SUPPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND YOU TAKE AWAY THE ANTAGONISM OF THE IRAQI DISSIDENTS. RIGHT NOW WE ARE A MAGNET FOR INSTABILITY RATHER THAN THE STABILIZING FORCE, AT LEAST IN THE SO-CALLED SUNI TRIANGLE, BAGHDAD AND THE SURROUNDING AREA THAT IS CONTROLLED BY THE PART OF IRAQ THAT'S OF THE SUNI MUSLIM RELIGION. WE'RE NEVER GOING TO CHANGE THAT, AT LEAST IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE. AND SO IN THAT CIRCUMSTANCE, WE OUGHT TO LOOK FOR OTHERS TO COME IN, IN A WAY THAT GETS THE COOPERATION OF THE PUBLIC AND MOVE MUCH MORE RAPIDLY TO MAKE THIS NEW IRAQI GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS OWN DESTINY.

Yepsen: HOW DO WE DO THAT, CONGRESSMAN? THE REST OF THE WORLD SEEMS TO BE SAYING TO UNCLE SAM, GO STEW IN YOUR OWN JUICE. TURKEY TODAY SAID, "WE'RE NOT GOING TO SEND TROOPS TO NORTHERN IRAQ." SO HOW DO WE INTERNATIONALIZE THIS THING?

Leach: WELL, THEY'RE SAYING GO STEW IN YOUR OWN JUICE BECAUSE WE'VE REFUSED TO INTERNATIONALIZE. WE HAVE SAID WE'RE GOING TO RUN IT. AND THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS SAID, "IF YOU'RE GOING TO RUN IT, GO AHEAD, WE'RE NOT GOING TO HELP YOU." THAT IS THE MAJOR CIRCUMSTANCE IN EVERY FOREIGN CAPITAL AND IN THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. UNTIL WE RECOGNIZE THAT -- NATIONALISM IS A FORCE OF UNBELIEVABLE POWER, AND NATIONAL PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN DOMAINS DON'T LIKE SOMEONE ELSE RUNNING THEM. ON THE OTHER HAND, THEY RECOGNIZE THEY HAD ONE OF THE GREAT DESPOTIC DICTATORS OF MODERN TIMES. THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE A LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT COME INTO BEING. LEGITIMACY SPRINGS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, NOT FROM A FOREIGN OCCUPIER IN THE MINDS NOT ONLY OF IRAQIS BUT THE REST OF THE WORLD.

Yepsen: WHEN YOU SAY INTERNATIONALIZE THIS, DO YOU MEAN THAT WE SHOULD REPLACE AMBASSADOR PAUL BREMER WITH SOME ONE ELSE FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE IN THE WORLD?

Leach: YES, I DO.

Yepsen: WHO HAVE YOU GOT IN MIND?

Leach: WELL, I'LL BE VERY PRECISE ON THIS, NOT IN TERMS OF AN INDIVIDUAL, BUT I THINK BREMER OUGHT TO STAY TO ASSIST AN INTERNATIONAL FIGURE. THE INTERNATIONAL FIGURE, IN MY VIEW, SHOULD NOT COME FROM EUROPE. I WOULD CHOOSE A LATIN OR A SINGAPORAN OR A SOUTH ASIAN SO THAT WE DON'T GET INTO THIS WHOLE ASPECT OF THE COMPETITIVE THING FOR OIL, THE WHOLE ASPECT OF THE COMPETITIVE POWER DECISIONS THAT SOME PEOPLE AGREED WITH US AND SOME DIDN'T. BUT YOU BRING IN -- AND THEY'RE A TOWERING FIGURE FROM ANOTHER PART OF THE WORLD. YOU LET THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVANTS THAT ARE THERE, AND SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD, TO ASSIST THEM.

Glover: THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO SUGGEST THAT WE COULD EASE A LOT OF MINDS IN THE ARAB WORLD IF THE UNITED STATES WERE TO SET A WORLD FOR HAVING THIS WHOLE THING DONE, WITHDRAWING TROOPS, AND IT WOULD EASE SOME MINDS BACK HERE AT HOME TOO. IS THERE ANY VALIDITY TO THAT ARGUMENT?

Leach: I BELIEVE THERE'S A GREAT DEAL OF CREDIBILITY TO THAT ARGUMENT. SEE, IF YOU DON'T SET A DATE -- IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE 100 PERCENT PRECISE -- IT LOOKS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT WE'RE AN OCCUPIED FORCE. I WOULD BOTH SET A CREDIBLE DATE, THE END OF NEXT YEAR IN TERMS OF TRYING TO GET VIRTUALLY ALL OF OUR TROOPS OUT AND MAYBE KEEP A FEW IN THE NORTH, BUT GET THEM OUT OF BAGHDAD I WILL TELL YOU. AND THEN ALSO MAKE IT CLEAR THE UNITED STATES HAS NO DESIRE FOR BASES. RIGHT NOW THERE'S A GROUP IN WASHINGTON THAT THINKS THAT THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT WE'RE GOING TO BECOME THE SPRINGBOARD OF BASES IN THE MIDDLE EAST. NO ONE THERE WANTS IT. IT BECOMES -- BASES BECOME TARGETS FOR OTHERS TO ATTACK IN IRAQ. AND SOMETHING AMERICANS HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT OUR PRESENCE IN IRAQ SPURS PEOPLE THAT SYMPATHIZE WITH MUSLIM CAUSES AROUND THE WORLD TO ACT AGAINST AMERICA IN OTHER PLACES, AND POTENTIALLY INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES.

Borg: HOW MUCH INFLUENCE OF WHAT YOU SAID THIS WEEK -- AND I'LL GIVE YOU A QUOTE HERE IN JUST A MINUTE OF WHAT YOU DID SAY -- BUT SENATORS HAGEL AND MCCAIN AND YOURSELF, ARE YOU BEING LISTENED TO? ARE YOU A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS?

Leach: WELL, I THINK PEOPLE ARE UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENCES OF JUDGMENT. AND WE HAVE IN PLACE A POLICY THAT I THINK DESERVES A RETHINK, AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE DON'T ALL HAVE TO RECOGNIZE, AS ONE WHO VOTED AGAINST THE WAR RESOLUTION TO BEGIN WITH, THAT IT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL POLICY. THE MAJORITY OF THE CONGRESS VOTED FOR IT. IT IS THE LAW -- IT BECAME A LAW THAT THE PRESIDENT USED AS A BASIS FOR ACTION, AND WE ALL HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE SOME GOOD REASONS TO GO TO WAR. WHETHER THEY WERE COMPELLING, EACH OF US HAS THEIR INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS ABOUT. Bog: DID YOU ALSO SAY THIS WEEK THAT U.S. POLICY RIGHT NOW IS BEING DRIVEN BY MISGUIDED ASSUMPTIONS?

Leach: BY CERTAIN MISGUIDED ASSUMPTIONS. LET ME EXPLAIN WHAT THOSE ARE. THERE WAS AN ASSUMPTION THAT THIS WOULD BE A VERY QUICK WAR, WE'D BE ACCEPTED AS LIBERATORS AND NOT CONQUERERS, AND THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD WOULD BE SUPPORTIVE, AND THE COST WOULD BE VIRTUALLY NIL. THOSE ASSUMPTIONS ARE FALSE AND IT IS REALLY TRAGIC. NOW, THERE'S ANOTHER SET OF ASSUMPTIONS THAT RELATE TO INTELLIGENCE. IT LOOKS LIKE THIS WAS ONE OF THE MORE AWKWARD INTELLIGENCE MISTAKES, I MIGHT EVEN USE THE WORD "FAILURES," IN MODERN-DAY TIMES, BOTH RELATED TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, AS WELL AS IN RELATIONSHIP TO HOW THE MUSLIM WORLD THINKS. AND IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT WE HAVE UNBELIEVABLY SOPHISTICATED INTELLIGENCE CAPACITIES OF MANY KINDS, PARTICULARLY TECHNICAL. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE DO NOT HAVE A GOOD SENSE FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD.

Borg: PRESIDENT BUSH WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN THE NEXT ELECTION, BUT ARE THERE OTHERS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATION OR WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND MAYBE LOSE THEIR JOB?

Leach: I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT AT ALL. I HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FOR SECRETARY RUMSFELD AS AN INDIVIDUAL, A MAN OF INTEGRITY AND WORK ETHIC. I HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FOR OUR PRESIDENT. I AM NOT ONE FOR TRYING TO SAY IT'S SO AND SO'S FAULT. I'M ONE TO SAY LET'S ALL WORK TOGETHER. WE'RE IN THE SAME PICKLE. WE'RE IN THE SAME PICKLE POLICY-WISE. WE'RE IN THE SAME PICKLE IN AMERICAN POLITICS. WE'RE IN THE SAME PICKLE JUDGMENTALLY. LET'S JUST RETHINK WHAT THE BEST PROCESS TO COME OUT OF A CIRCUMSTANCE CAN BE.

Glover: SPEAKING OF PICKLES, DOES THIS PICKLE HAVE TO BE SOLD A LITTLE BIT? DOES THIS ADMINISTRATION HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB OF SELLING -- I'M BEING HALF SERIOUS HERE. DOES THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB SELLING THIS POLICY IN IRAQ? EVERY POLL I'VE SEEN HAS SHOWN SUPPORT BEGINNING TO ERODE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S POLICIES. LIKE ANY WAR, IF PUBLIC SUPPORT GOES AWAY, THIS ONE IS IN TROUBLE.

Leach: I'M NOT ONE THAT PUTS A LOT OF WEIGHT ON THIS SELLING CONCEPT. I BELIEVE POLICIES STAND AS THEY'RE RIGHT OR WRONG, SUCCESSFUL OR LESS SUCCESSFUL. THERE ARE THOSE THAT ALWAYS LIKE TO SAY, GEEZ, IF WE COULD JUST DESCRIBE IT BETTER, WE'D BE RECOGNIZED AS A HUNDRED PERCENT CORRECT. THAT APPLIES TO AMERICA. IT APPLIES TO AROUND THE WORLD. ACTUALLY WE'RE DOING A MUCH BETTER JOB IN GETTING THE SUPPORT OF AMERICANS THAN WE ARE CITIZENS AROUND THE WORLD. SUPPORT FOR THE UNITED STATES HAS ERODED TO HISTORICAL LOWS WITH THE ANTAGONISM OF AMERICA BEING AT A POINT THAT I COULD NEVER VISUALIZE IN MY LIFETIME.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES THE UNITED STATES HAVE TO DO, CONGRESSMAN, TO REBUILD THAT RAPPORT AROUND THE WORLD?

Leach: WELL, I THINK WE HAVE TO BE DIRECT AND HONEST, AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVERYBODY. AGREEMENT IS NOT NECESSARILY THE BASIS YOU ALWAYS SEEK, BUT WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAUTIOUS TO REALIZE THAT OUR SECURITY DEPENDS UPON HAVING FRIENDS AND ALLIES. OUR SECURITY DEPENDS UPON BEING RESPECTED IN THE WORLD. IF IT APPEARS THAT WE'RE A BIT OF A BULLY, IF IT APPEARS THAT WE'RE QUICK TO ACT AND QUICK TO INTERVENE, WE'RE LOOKED AT AS A LITTLE BIT IMPERIALIST. NOW, YOU CAN HAVE WELL-INTENDED IMPERIALISM, BUT IT IS STILL IMPERIALISM IN THE EYES OF OTHERS. THE OTHER THING I'D LIKE TO SUGGEST TO PEOPLE IS THAT THERE ARE MANY SETS OF EYES AND MANY SETS OF PERSPECTIVES; FROM AN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE, THINGS LOOK VERY REASONED. FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EUROPEANS, A LITTLE DIFFERENT. THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOMEONE IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, DIFFERENT AGAIN. WE'VE GOT TO START TO UNDERSTAND HOW OTHER PEOPLE SEE THINGS. PUT THAT INTO THE MIX OF DECISION MAKING. THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO COME DOWN EXACTLY AS THEY COME DOWN, BUT WE'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND BETTER.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, IN ADDITION TO BEING AN EXPERT ON FOREIGN POLICY, YOU'RE A PRETTY GOOD POLITICIAN YOURSELF. WHAT'S THE POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM ALL OF THIS GOING TO BE ON REPUBLICANS, ON THE PRESIDENT IN A YEAR IN THE ELECTION?

Leach: I'M PRETTY CONFIDENT THIS PRESIDENT IS IN A VERY STRONG POSITION FOR REELECTION. IN LOTS OF WAYS, HE UNDERSTANDS THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BETTER THAN ANYONE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY TODAY. IT DOESN'T APPEAR, AT THIS MOMENT AT LEAST, THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS A STANDARD THAT HAS CAUGHT HOLD. AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT A NUMBER OF THESE CANDIDATES AREN'T DECENT, FINE PEOPLE. I KNOW MOST OF THEM. I LIKE THEM A LOT. THEY'RE FINE. BUT AT THE MOMENT IT LOOKS LIKE PRESIDENT BUSH HAS THE MONOPOLY ON LEADERSHIP, WHETHER ONE AGREES OR DISAGREES WITH HIM. NOW, BY NEXT FALL THAT MIGHT NOT LOOK THAT WAY. BUT I DON'T LOOK AT THINGS OR, FRANKLY, CARE ABOUT THINGS THAT MUCH FROM A FALLOUT POLITICALLY. I CARE ABOUT POLICY. IT'S THE POLICY AND THE NATIONAL INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT HAS TO BE THE PREMIERE CONCERN.

Glover: THIS WHITE HOUSE HAS A REPUTATION FOR A VERY, VERY STRONG DISCIPLINE ON MESSAGE, SPEAKING WITH ONE VOICE. AND YET THIS ADMINISTRATION ON IRAQ SEEMS TO HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF TROUBLE SPEAKING WITH ONE VOICE. THERE SEEMS TO BE DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE PENTAGON AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT, BETWEEN THIS PERSON AND THAT PERSON. WHY CAN'T WE GET ONE MESSAGE OUT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION ABOUT THE WAR?

Leach: WELL, YOU'RE RIGHT, ALL ADMINISTRATIONS WANT TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE. BUT WHEN YOU HAVE AN ISSUE LIKE THIS, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO HAVE DIFFERENCES OF JUDGMENT. AS I DESCRIBE THIS TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, ANYONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE SOME CONFLICTED JUDGMENTS THEMSELVES ISN'T THINKING. THERE ARE PROS FOR DOING CERTAIN THINGS; THERE ARE CONS AGAINST IT. SO INTERNALLY WE'RE ALL CONFLICTED; WITH NEIGHBORS WE'RE ALL CONFLICTED. AND ANY HONEST ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO WANT TO HAVE PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF PERSPECTIVES. NOW, OBVIOUSLY THERE'S A DIFFERENT JUDGMENT COMING FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT VERSUS THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT VERSUS THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, BUT ON THE WHOLE, THERE'S BEEN A CONSISTENCY IN SUPPORT OF POLICY. BUT I THINK IT'S A STRENGTH AND NOT A WEAKNESS THAT YOU HAVE SOME PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT JUDGMENTS.

Glover: DO YOU THINK THOSE DIFFERENCES IN MESSAGE, DIFFERENCES IN VOICES HAS INTERFERED WITH THE PROSECUTION OF THE WAR?

Leach: NO, I DON'T. I THINK IN SOME WAYS IT'S GOOD IN A DEMOCRACY TO HAVE DIFFERENT TENSION. IT COMES BACK TO BIPARTISANSHIP. YOU WANT TO HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR IMPORTANT FOREIGN POLICIES. YOU WANT TO HAVE BIPARTISAN CRITICISM. I MEAN, THAT IS, YOU WANT TO DEBATE AND THINK THROUGH. IT'S AS YOU DEBATE AND THINK THROUGH THAT YOU COME OUT WITH RESOLUTIONS THAT ARE A LITTLE DIFFERENT. IF YOU HAVE LOCKSTEP, YOU'VE GOT A DILEMMA. AND I THINK THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR LOCKSTEP JUDGMENT.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WE COULD SPEND OUR WHOLE TIME WITH YOU TALKING ABOUT IRAQ, BUT I WANT TO MOVE ON TO A COUPLE OTHER ISSUES. THE OTHER BIG ISSUE THAT'S CONCERNING AMERICANS TODAY IS THE ECONOMY. A LOT OF TALK THAT THE ECONOMY IS IMPROVING. IS THE IOWA ECONOMY IMPROVING? DO YOU SEE INDICATIONS THAT THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY THAT'S HAPPENING NATIONALLY IS ALSO HAPPENING HERE IN IOWA?

Leach: IOWA IS A MICROCOSM OF THE COUNTRY, AND THE COUNTRY HAS SOME PARTS THAT ARE CLEARLY IMPROVING AND OTHER PARTS THAT CLEARLY AREN'T. NOW, WHAT IS MISUNDERSTOOD ABOUT IOWA OUTSIDE OF IOWA IS THAT WE'RE A SURPRISINGLY LARGE MANUFACTURING STATE. WE HAVE MORE MANUFACTURING KINDS OF WORK THAN WE HAVE AGRICULTURAL WORK, WHICH IS A SURPRISE TO NON-IOWANS. IT'S AMERICAN MANUFACTURING THAT IS SUFFERING THE MOST IN THE ECONOMY. BY THE SAME TOKEN, WE ALSO HAVE A SERVICE INDUSTRY, PARTICULARLY FINANCE, THAT IS DOING A BIT BETTER. YOU TAKE DES MOINES, WHICH IS DOING QUITE NICELY IN HOME SALES UP, ET CETERA. THIS RELATES TO WHITE-COLLAR KINDS OF WORK RELATIVE TO MANUFACTURING KINDS OF WORK. THERE ARE ASPECTS OF DES MOINES, THERE ARE ASPECTS OF IOWA CITY, AMES THAT ARE DOING VERY NICELY. THERE ARE OTHER PARTS OF IOWA, PARTICULARLY YOUR SMALLER COUNTIES, PARTICULARLY YOUR MANUFACTURING TOWNS LIKE BURLINGTON, THAT ARE DOING MUCH LESS WELL. SO WE'RE IN THIS BIND, SOME DOING BETTER AND SOME DOING WORSE. THEN WE'RE IN THIS INCREDIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WE'RE SEEING REAL GNP OR GDP GROWTH, BUT IT'S NOT BEING EQUATED TO THE SAME PERCENTAGE OF JOBS GROWTH. PART OF THIS RELATES TO THE FACT THAT PRODUCTIVITY IS INCREASING AT A RECORD LEVEL. IN SOME WAYS, THIS IS HEALTHY. IN OTHER WAYS, IT IS INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING. THE IDEA THAT YOU HAVE REAL ECONOMIC GROWTH THAT'S JOBLESS, THAT IS A TRAUMA. NOW, THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS THERE APPEARS TO BE SOME BETTER NEWS ON THE JOB SITE. WHETHER THAT'S GOING TO BE SUSTAINING IS ANYBODY'S GUESS.

Glover: CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN WAS JUST UP AT CONGRESS RECENTLY, AND HE SAID THAT HE FEELS LIKE THE ECONOMY IS POISED TO RECOVER, BUT HE'S TROUBLED THAT THE SIZE OF THESE BUDGET DEFICITS WILL BEGIN TO DRAG THE ECONOMY BACK. DO YOU SHARE THAT CONCERN?

Leach: OH, I SURELY DO. I THINK PEOPLE KNOW THAT FOR THIRTY OR FORTY YEARS WE'VE HAD MOST YEARS OF A DEFICIT. THEY'VE BECOME SO INURED TO THAT, THAT THERE'S BEEN A LACK OF REAL COMPREHENSION OF MAGNITUDE. IF YOU TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY OUTSIDE OF THE EQUATION, WE'RE RUNNING DEFICITS THAT ARE ALMOST A QUARTER OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET. THAT'S UNPRECEDENTED IN AMERICAN HISTORY, EVEN IN TIMES OF WARFARE. THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION, AND CONGRESS IS OBLIGATED TO THINK THAT THROUGH IN WAYS THAT IT HASN'T.

Glover: WHAT'S THE ANSWER? IT SEEMS TO ME THERE ARE ONLY TWO CHOICES; YOU CUT SPENDING OR YOU RAISE TAXES. WHICH DO YOU DO?

Leach: THAT IS THE GREAT QUESTION. I THINK YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME DISCIPLINE. AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS THAT, FRANKLY, I DIDN'T SUPPORT THIS LAST TAX CUT. AS ATTRACTIVE AS IT WAS, I FELT THIS WASN'T THE TIME FOR THAT.

Glover: A LOT OF THE DEMOCRATS ARE RUNNING AROUND SAYING THAT PORTIONS OF THE TAX CUT OUGHT TO BE REPEALED. ARE YOU ON THEIR SIDE WITH THIS?

Leach: WELL, I DON'T CONSIDER MYSELF ON ANYBODY'S SIDE. I HAVE MY OWN INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT THAT PEOPLE CAN AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH. BUT I THINK THAT TAX CUT WENT TOO FAR.

Borg: IT'S INTERESTING YOUR COMMENT "YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME DISCIPLINE" IN BUDGETARY MATTERS. THE REPORT TODAY IN THE "CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE" QUOTED YOU AND HOUSE SPEAKER HASTERT ON THE IOWA CHILD APPROPRIATION FOR THE RAIN FOREST IN THE IOWA CITY-CORALVILLE AREA, AND HE CALLED IT PURE PORK AND AS HOLDING IT UP IN THE OMNIBUS ENERGY BILL. HOW DO YOU DEFEND THAT WHEN OTHER SECTIONS OF THE NATION ARE BEING ASKED TO -- PEOPLE ARE BEING -- AMERICANS THINK THEY'RE SACRIFICING. HOW DO YOU DEFEND THAT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT DISCIPLINE?

Leach: THAT'S A PARTICULAR PROJECT. IT'S A NONPROFIT, VERY IMAGINATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT THAT SENATOR GRASSLEY HAS PUT IN THE SENATE SIDE. FRANKLY, IT'S CONTRASTED WITH -- A GROUP OF HOUSE MEMBERS WANTED FOUR SPECIFIC PROJECTS THAT ARE SO-CALLED GREEN BONDS, AND CHUCK SAID, "WELL, IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE THOSE PROJECTS, WE'D LIKE TO HAVE THIS PARTICULAR NONPROFIT." THE OTHERS ARE CORPORATE KINDS OF PROJECTS. THIS IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL, NONPROFIT, ENERGY EDUCATION ORIENTED CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST, POSSIBLY, PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT IN THE LAST DECADE IN IOWA. IT WOULD BE A VERY EXCITING PROJECT. AS YOU KNOW, BOB RAY IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF IT. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS AN IDEA THAT'S BEEN DEVELOPING FOR FOUR OR FIVE YEARS. CHUCK IS ADVANCING THE APPROACH THAT I THINK IS DEFENSIBLE. I CANNOT TELL YOU THAT IT IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I'VE NEVER MADE THAT ARGUMENT. IF YOU TALK ABOUT BALANCE IN FEDERAL SPENDING, IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT IF SOME STATES GET SOMETHING, IT'S FAIR THAT IOWA GETS SOMETHING. SO IT'S ONE OF THESE KIND OF BALANCING CIRCUMSTANCES.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, MUTUAL FUNDS ARE IN THE NEWS.

Leach: YES, THEY ARE.

Yepsen: YOU'RE A FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE. A LOT OF PEOPLE NOW ARE QUITE UPSET AT WHAT THEY SEE GOING ON IN MUTUAL FUNDS --

Leach: THEY SHOULD BE.

Yepsen: -- WHERE PEOPLE ARE TRADING. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? WHAT SHOULD THE CONGRESS DO ABOUT IT?

Leach: WELL, I THINK THERE IS NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER THAT DURING THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS OR SO WE'VE SEEN A DEVELOPMENT OF, KIND OF, A PARLANCE OF INSIDERISM OF WHICH MUTUAL FUNDS ARE A PART. THEY'RE NOT THE MOST EXTREME PART, BUT THEY'RE A SIGNIFICANT PART OF PROBLEMS IN WALL STREET. THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE HAS BEEN CONTROLLED BY INSIDERS FOR TOO LONG. MUTUAL FUNDS ARE AN ISSUE IN WHICH IT'S CLEAR THAT SOME PEOPLE HAVE HAD ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER PEOPLE. AND IT'S CLEAR THAT SOME TRADING TECHNIQUES HAVE BEEN USED TO ADVANTAGE THOSE THAT RUN AND MANAGE FUNDS, RATHER THAN THE PEOPLE THAT PUT THEIR MONEY IN FUNDS. NOW, AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION, MUTUAL FUNDS HAVE BEEN FABULOUS FOR THE AMERICAN SAVER. BY THE SAME TOKEN, THEY OUGHT TO BE PERFECTLY RUN, AND THEY HAVEN'T BEEN. AND CONGRESS OUGHT TO MOVE TO INSIST THAT FEDERAL REGULATION BE OF A NATURE THAT PROTECTS THE CONSUMER AND NOT THE INSIDER.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, YOU'RE A BRIGHT GUY. WHERE SHOULD PEOPLE BE PUTTING THEIR MONEY THESE DAYS? [ LAUGHTER ] LET'S TAKE A COUPLE MINUTES TO GET SOME PERSONAL FINANCIAL ADVICE.

Leach: I WILL TELL YOU, WHEN I FIRST ENTERED PUBLIC LIFE, MY FATHER SAID TO ME -- AND IT'S THE ONLY ADVICE HE EVER GAVE ME IN POLITICS. HE SAID, "JIMMY," HE SAID, "YOU'VE HAD A LITTLE MORE EDUCATION THAN SOME IN OUR FAMILY, AND I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU ONE THING: 'NEVER, EVER TELL A FARMER WHEN TO SELL HIS BEANS.'" [ LAUGHTER ] AND I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT THAT'S PROFOUND ADVICE. AND I WILL TELL YOU I'M AN INDIVIDUAL THAT STUDIES GOVERNMENT, AND THE ONLY THING I WOULD EVER SUGGEST TO SOMEONE IS YOU WANT TO TALK TO REAL PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD OF FINANCE. AND THAT DOES NOT MEAN A SINGLE SOUL THAT'S HIRED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

Glover: ON A MORE SERIOUS ISSUE, THERE ARE A LOT OF NEGOTIATIONS GOING ON RIGHT NOW -- SENATOR GRASSLEY IS INVOLVED IN THEM -- FOR A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT UNDER THE MEDICARE PROGRAM. IS IT YOUR SENSE THAT THAT'S GOING TO EMERGE INTO REALITY AND BE SIGNED INTO LAW?

Leach: I THINK THIS IS REALLY A CLOSE-CALL DECISION. WHAT YOU HAVE IS AN ISSUE THAT THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT OBJECT TO, AND BOTH HAVE VALID OBJECTIONS; THAT IS, THE RIGHT SAYS THIS IS GOING TO BE A PROGRAM THAT IS GOING TO BE UNBELIEVABLY COSTLY OVER TIME AND WE CAN'T AFFORD IT. THE LEFT SAYS THIS IS A PROGRAM THAT HAS INEQUITIES IN IT AND IT ISN'T NEAR GENEROUS ENOUGH. AND BOTH ARE RIGHT. THEN THE QUESTION IS, THOUGH, WHAT ABOUT THE LOW INCOME ELDERLY. CAN THEY AFFORD DRUGS AND SHOULDN'T THERE BE SOMETHING YOU DO THAT CAN HELP THEM? THAT'S A PRETTY COMPELLING CASE. NOW, IN IOWA'S CIRCUMSTANCE, WE END UP WITH A SPECIAL INTEREST DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER STATE; AND THAT IS, FORGETTING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, IN THE WHOLE AREA OF MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT, WE RANK, DEPENDING HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, EITHER THE BOTTOM OR CLOSE TO THE BOTTOM. IN THIS BILL -- AND FOR WHATEVER REASON, IT'S THE ONLY VEHICLE THAT WE CAN DO IT -- WE HAVE A CHANCE TO RECTIFY SOME OF THE IMBALANCES. AND SO, A FULL $25 BILLION OVER A TEN-YEAR PROGRAM WILL BE DEVOTED TO RECTIFY THE IMBALANCES IN CURRENT MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT, WHICH WILL BE EXCELLENT FOR IOWA. AND SO WE HAVE A BILL THAT IS REALLY AN IOWA-ORIENTED BILL UNRELATED TO THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG. THEN IN THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG, TO BE QUITE HONEST ABOUT IT, IT WILL BE EXCELLENT FOR SOME PEOPLE. IT MAY NOT BE AS GOOD FOR OTHERS. AND SO YOU HAVE A DILEMMA OF JUDGMENT THAT THERE IS AN ASPECT TO THIS BILL THAT IS REALLY GOING TO BE WONDERFUL, PARTICULARLY FOR THE LOWEST INCOME ELDERLY. THERE MIGHT BE OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE THIS KIND OF BILL WILL INCENTIVIZE PRIVATE SECTORED COMPANIES TO GET OUT OF SUPPORT FOR THEIR RETIREES, AND THAT IS A DOWNSIDE TO THIS BILL THAT HASN'T GOT NEAR ENOUGH ATTENTION.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WE'VE ONLY GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS LEFT. I HAVE TO ASK THIS QUESTION: DO YOU PLAN TO SEEK REELECTION IN 2004?

Leach: WELL, LET ME SAY, DAVID, THIS IS NOT A TIME THAT I'M MAKING ANNOUNCEMENT FOR OFFICE BUT, CERTAINLY, ALL OF THE SIGNS ARE IN THAT DIRECTION.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU THINK PRESIDENT BUSH WILL FARE IN '04?

Leach: I THINK THE PRESIDENT WILL DO VERY WELL.

Yepsen: DO YOU THINK HE'LL GET REELECTED?

Leach: YES, I DO, AND PARTLY BECAUSE OF LEADERSHIP IN GENERAL, PARTLY BECAUSE HE'S A VERY DECENT MAN. AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES, YOU KNOW, AREN'T NICE PEOPLE TOO, BUT I LOOK FOR THE PROSPECT OF CANDIDATES THAT MAY BE BOTH QUITE NICE, WHICH I THINK IS A PLUS FOR THE COUNTRY. >>

Borg: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN LEACH, FOR BEING WITH US.

Leach: THANK YOU.

Borg: AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." WE'LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK, SAME TIMES: 7.30 FRIDAY AND SUNDAY AT NOON. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.